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Six week check up

Six weeks after the birth, your doctor will give your baby a development check. The aim is to assess your baby’s physical growth, behavioural development, and overall state of health.

WHAT YOUR DOCTOR LOOKS FOR

Your doctor will check your baby’s body control and social responses, paying special attention to vision and hearing.
Not all babies cooperate, so your own observation any concerns you may have.

  • Hearing The doctor will check that a sudden noise startles her.
  • Muscle tone The doctor will move your baby’s arms and legs to assess muscle tone.
  • Reflexes certain reflexes that were present at birth will be disappearing by now. Your doctor may look for the grasp reflex: when a newborn baby’s palm is stroked, her hand closes on the finger, but this reflex may have gone by six weeks. The stepping reflex is a walking-like action most new babies make when the sole of a foot is pressed on the coach. This too disappears by six weeks of age.

Head circumference (right)

This provides vital information about how your baby is growing and developing.
Weight

Babies are weighed frequently to help assess their growth and development.
Your baby at six weeks

At six weeks, your baby will start to:

  • Watch faces intently
  • Follow a light or a dangling toy
  • Lie still to concentrate on your voice
  • Smile, especially on hearing your voice
  • Control her head more
  • Make some noises back at you-when she’s in the right mood.

Reflexes

The birth reflexes will begin disappearing soon. At birth, a newborn can tightly grasp a finger placed in her palm, but by six to eight weeks this reflex normally goes. The stepping reflex also disappears by six weeks of age.
The doctor will also check for:

  • Eye abnormalities
  • Congenital dislocation of the hip
  • Signs of congenital heart disease
  • Undescended testes in a boy
  • Small abnormalities such as birth marks.

Measuring weight, length, and head circumstance enables your baby’s growth to be plotted on a chart. This will give a good indication of development. Don’t worry too much about her exact length. This measurement tends to be approximate because babies still hold themselves curled up at this age.
Remember to take a spare nappy, and a feed if you’re bottle-feeding. A dummy can also be a good idea if she uses one. The best time to schedule a check-up is when your baby is awake but not hungry: an hour after a feed, for instant. This isn’t always possible. Moreover, young babies are unpredictable and don’t necessarily stick to a routine. There’s no need to worry if your doctor ask you to come back at a later date to complete the behavioural parts of the examination.

Checking the heartbeat

Until your baby is about one year old, her heartbeat will be about 120 beats per minutes; much faster than a child or adult heart. The doctor will use a stethoscope to listen to your baby’s heart.

Checking the hips

Your baby will have been checked for hip dislocation after birth, but it is still a possibility, so the doctor will manipulate her legs again at six weeks check.

Head control

The doctor will hold up your baby on her front in the air. She may also pull her up to a sitting position to see how strong her back is.

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